night circus hawaii

Light it up all December long. Photo: Sheraton Waikiki

38 things to do across Hawaii in December

Aloha, December! The end of 2015 is upon us. (And, wow, wasn’t that fast?!) Here are events across the Islands to get your winter spirit on.

STATEWIDE

diplo in hawaii
Diplo looking mighty #blessed. Photo: Instagram

HEAR: Diplo

Get down with the American DJ, a powerhouse in E.D.M. and pop music these past five years. He returns to Hawaii to spin. Oahu: 12/12, $35–$65, 9 p.m., The Republik, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd. #30, Honolulu, jointherepublik.com; Maui: 12/16, $35–$65, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Maui Arts & Cultural Center, One Cameron Way, Kahului, mauiarts.org.

HEAR: Jake Shimabukuro

The ukulele virtuoso takes the stage on Oahu and Hawaii Island. Rock out on his signature sound—electric strumming on Hawaii’s favorite instrument—that includes original compositions, classical and modern covers. Hawaii Island: 12/9, 7 p.m., $20–$68, Kahilu Theatre, 67-1186 Lindsey Rd, Waimea, kahilutheatre.org, (808) 885-6868; Maui: 12/11, $12–$55, 7:30 p.m., Castle Theater, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, One Cameron Way, Kahului, mauiarts.org; Oahu: 12/12, $30–$60, 8 p.m., Hawaii Theatre, hawaiitheatre.com, jakeshimabukuro.com.

 

HAWAII ISLAND

DO: Na Makua Invitational Christmas Gift Fair

Shop this showcase of local artists for a unique selection of Christmas gifts made and available nowhere else in the world. 12/4 and 12/5, free, Friday 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Ah-Fook Chinen Civic Auditorium, Manono St., Hilo, namakua.com, (808) 966-4647

DO: Kohala Aina Fest

A festival focused on local harvest and small farmers with a music festival featuring Mike Love, Chris Berry, Tubby Love and Hawane Rios. 12/5, $35–$45, children 12 and under free, 3 to 9 p.m., Inhabit Farms, 53-4223 Pratt Road, Kapaau, hipagriculture.org, (800) 838-3006

HEAR: Frank Zappa Tribute Concert

Hot off two previous sold out shows, the UHH Jazz Orchestra plays this new stage show of Zappa hits. 12/9 and 12/10, $5–$10, 7:30 p.m., UH Hilo Performing Arts Center, 342 W Kawili St., Hilo, artscenter.uhh.hawaii.edu, (808) 932-7496
 

HEAR: Amy Hanaialii

Hawaii’s top-selling female singer-songwriter plays her stunning songbook for what could easily be a sold-out crowd. 12/16, 7 p.m., $20–$68, Kahilu Theatre, 67-1186 Lindsey Rd, Waimea, kahilutheatre.org, (808) 885-6868

SEE: “The Nutcracker Ballet”

A holiday classic featuring more than 50 local dancers plus guest dancers from The Maui Academy of Performing Arts. Professional dancers from Carolina Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet assist to bring this story to life. 12/21 and 12/22, $18–$33, 6 p.m., Kahilu Theatre, 67-1186 Lindsey Rd, Waimea, kahilutheatre.org, (808) 885-6868

 

OAHU

Christmas on Oahu
A scene from the Waianae Christmas Hoolaulea

SEE: “My Boy He Play Ball”

It’s the final week of local playwright Tammy Hailiopua Baker’s world premiere of “My Boy He Play Ball,” a story about fathers, sons and modern Hawaiian identity against the backdrop of a football sports scholarship. 12/1–12/6, $5–$20, see schedule for show dates, Kumu Kahua Theatre, 46 Merchant St., kumukahua.org, (808) 536-4441

SEE: Eduardo Bolioli – New Works

The opening night reception of some eccentric surf art from Hawaii resident. Think Keith Haring but if Haring surfed. 12/3, free, 5 to 8 p.m., The Manifest, 32 N. Hotel St., manifesthawaii.com

SEE: Female Comics of Hawaii Standup Show

The only all-female comedy group in Hawaii will have you laughing all night long in their final show of 2015. 12/5, $10, 8 to 10 p.m., Nextdoor, 43 N Hotel St, Honolulu

SEE: “The Eternal Zero” Premiere

The number film at Japan’s box office about a “Kamikaze” pilot makes its Hawaii premiere. The film’s producer Shuji Abe will be in attendance to kick off the program. 12/6, $20, 1:30 p.m., University of Hawaii at Manoa, Art Building #132, 2565 McCarthy Mall, Honolulu, honolulufoundation.org

DO: National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day – 74th Anniversary

Commemorate this historic day in U.S. history with 3,000 guests including Pearl Harbor survivors and WWII vets. Ceremony will be broadcast live online to honor “The Greatest Generation” including music from the Navy’s U.S. Pacific Fleet Band, a Hawaiian chant, rifle salute by the U.S. Marine Corps and a moment of silence. 12/7, free, 7 a.m., Pearl Harbor, Kilo Pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial, 1 Arizona Memorial Pl., pearlharboroahu.com, (808) 422-3300

TASTE: Breakfast with Santa

Join Santa at Kualoa Ranch for a morning of festive cheer—photo opps and games for the keiki. Don’t miss the special mini-tour of Kualoa on the holiday trolley. 12/12, $3–$20, 8 to 10 a.m., Kualoa Ranch, 49-560 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe, (808) 213-3101

SEE: Santa Arrival by Outrigger Canoe

Santa’s got a new sleigh—an outrigger canoe pulling up onto the shores of Waikiki. Followed by a hula and song performance with a meet-and-greet. 12/12, free, 9 a.m., Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, 2335 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, outriggerwaikikihotel.com, (808) 923-0711

DO: Waianae Christmas Hoolaulea

Kick off the season on the west side with a Christmas parade and food vendors among a all the mall merchants, morning to afternoon. 12/12, free, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Waianae Mall, 86-210 Farrington Hwy., Waianae

DO: Tea with Santa at The Veranda

Who knew Santa liked tea? Then again when it’s at The Kahala overlooking the Pacific who wouldn’t? Savory bites and sweets to accompany a special visit from Santa himself. 12/12, 12/13, 12/19 and 12/20, $20–$50, 2 to 5:30 p.m., The Veranda at The Kahala Hotel & Resort, 5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, kahalaresort.com, (808) 739-8888

TASTE: Modern Kaiseki Dinner

Chef Lee Anne Wong shines a spotlight on modern kaiseki (traditional multi-course Japanese meal) with exclusive dishes paired with curated sake from Japan's long-standing, acclaimed Kikusui Brewery. 12/13, $80, 6 to 8 p.m., Hale Ohuna, 3605 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, haleohuna.com, (808) 744-7567

DO: “Mana: A Journal of Hawaii” Release Party

Celebrate the release of “Mana: A Journal of Hawaii,” a hardcover book featuring the reporting of Mana Magazine. Light pupu (tapas), musical entertainment and a holiday book shop included. 12/14, free, 5 to 8 p.m., Pagoda Floating Resaturant, La Salle Room (2nd floor), 1525 Rycroft St, Honolulu, (808) 941-6611

HEAR: The Count Basie Orchestra

A holiday music series by an internationally regarded jazz orchestra: three shows with special appearances by Jimmy Borges, Monica Mancini and former Basie and Frank Sinatra drummer Gregg Field. 12/14 and 12/15, $37–$97, see schedule for show dates, Halekulani Hotel, 2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, halekulani.com, (808) 923-2311

DO: Haleiwa NiteRun

Deck yourself out in glow ticks for a North Shore 5K fun run with proceeds going towards North Shore Junior Lifeguard Association. 12/19, $39.50 to participate, family fair is free, 5 to 9 p.m., Haleiwa Beach Park, niterun.com

TASTE: More Than Just Milk & Cookies

Special dining options at the Halekulani abound in limited lunch and dinner menus at Orchids, La Mer and House Without a Key. 12/24 and 12/25, $55–$300, times vary, Halekulani Hotel, 2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, halekulani.com, (808) 923-2311

TASTE: Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Holiday Feast

Chef Chris Kirksey has put together a hearty holiday dinner buffet available on Christmas evening: crab bisque, salmon tataki, mini beef wellingtons with sauce périgueux, seared onaga with crab meat and a lilikoi (passionfruit) glazed bone-in ham roast. 12/25, $29.95–$59.95, 2:30 to 9:30 p.m., Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel, 120 Kaiulani Ave, Honolulu, princess-kaiulani.com, (808) 922-5811

DO: 5K Water for the World Run

It’s called “the wettest run on the planet” with a slip-n-slide finish line the day after Christmas and all for a good cause. There will be raffles, giveaways, prizes, DJs and live music too. 12/26, $34.99 (to save $5, use promo code: BETHECHANGE), 9 a.m., Oahu Waikiki Shell, 2805 Monsarrat Ave, Honolulu, register at waterfortheworldrun.org

DO: Night Circus

Ring in 2016 with four live DJs, go-go dancers, fire-breathers and aerialists. An evening of exciting spectacle to get you ready for the midnight firework display at Waikiki from one of the best views on the coast. 12/31, $50–$100, 8:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Sheraton Waikiki, 2255 Kalakaua Ave., rumfirewaikiki.com, (808) 550-8457

MAUI

DO: Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui Benefit Golf Tournament
Swing away for a great cause and team. A four man scramble format with 7:30am shotgun start, this tournament benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui. 12/5, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., $200 to participate, Wailea Old Blue Golf Course, Wailea, bgcmaui.org/TeeUpForeKids.aspx.

DO: Lighting of the Banyan Tree
It’s lit. The famous Lahaina landmark is the center of this festival—a great way to get into the Hawaii holiday spirit. Bring to keiki to meet a snowman and check out the “North Pole.” Organizers request you bring a canned good donation for admission to this winter wonderland. 12/5, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 12/6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., free, Lahaina Town, Lahaina, visitlahaina.com.

SEE: Last Comic Standing Live Tour
Performers include Michael Palascak, Dominique, Andy Erikson, Ian Bagg and winner Clayton English from the top-rated NBC comedy competition. 12/10, 7:30 p.m., $35–$65, Castle Theater, Maui Arts & Cultural Center, One Cameron Way, Kahului, mauiarts.org.

 

DO: Christmas Ball

Ballroom dance your way into holidays with the Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association. A dance party like none other. 12/19, $35–$45, 6 to 10 p.m., Maui Beach Hotel, Elleair Rainbow Ballroom, 1170 Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, (808) 244-3263

HEAR: Na Leo Lani O Maui Annual Holiday Concert

Hawaiian community choir, Na Leo Lani o Maui, returns for a harmonious “Maui Kalikimaka” performance, an evening of Hawaiian song, chant and hula. 12/19, price, 7 p.m., $30, Aaliikuhonua Creative Arts Center, Hanamu Rd., Makawao, (808) 572-7235, mauiacademy.org.

SEE: William Shatner

Beam him up for a pre-New Years party! The legendary TV and film star puts on a one-of-a-kind variety-esque show for the island. 12/30, price TBA, 8 p.m., The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, 2605 Kaanapali Pkwy., Kaanapali, tickets on-sale soon at expedia.com, honoluluboxoffice.com.

KAUAI, LANAI, MOLOKAI

DO: Lights on Rice Parade

Holiday celebration in Lihue on Rice Street includes a craft fair organized by the Kauai Museum and food vendors. The community will deck the halls with lights starting at Vidinha Stadium to the Historical County Building. 12/4, free, 6 to 9 p.m., Rice St., Lihue, (808) 639-6571

 

DO: Molokai’s Parade of Lights & Hoolaulea

Celebrate with The Friendly Isle in a holiday parade and festival where the entire island will come together to show their cheer. 12/5, 5 to 9 p.m., free, Mitchell Pauole Community Center, 90 Ainoa St., Kaunakakai, molokaiislandfoundation.org.

SEE: Holiday Hula Celebration

Dancers ranging in all ages will perform to a variety of classic Christmas tunes. 12/5, $20–$25, 5 to 9 p.m., Kauai Marriott Resort, 3610 Rice St., Lihue, (808) 634-5746

DO: Waipa Kalo Festival

Join in on a community hoolaulea at Waipa's beautiful Halulu Fishpond alongside Hanalei Bay. The highlight is the food showcase displaying the diverse use of kalo (Hawaiian taro) plus local artisans and live music. 12/6, $1–$5, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Halulu Fishpond, Waipa, Hanalei, (808) 826-9969

HEAR: KISS “ROCK ’n Blues” Concert

Kauai Island Singers Showcase, a crew of 11 singers, want to rock you out to the rhythm of rock and blues music with some holiday music too. 12/6, free, 5 to 7 p.m., All Saints Church, Kapaa, (808) 822-0545

DO: Powerlifting Meet on Molokai

Get your bench press, deadlift and squats on with this dedicated squad that gets together to pump each other up on the island. 12/19, free, 8:30 a.m., Na Puuwai, (808) 553-5848

DO: Waimea Lighted Christmas Parade

Beautiful floats will travel through the streets of Waimea Town for this Kalikimaka party. After the parade, check out live music and entertainment all night. 12/19, free, 6 to 11 p.m., Waimea Town, Waimea, wkbpa.com.

DO: New Years Eve at Poipu Beach Park

Ring in 2016 with the rest of the Kauai community for a fireworks display, bands, food trucks, movie and DJs at the park overlooking the ocean. Fireworks start at 9 p.m., don’t miss it! 12/31, free, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., Poipu Beach Park, poipubeach.org, (808) 742-7444